*All photos courtesy of my daughter, Ava, which she sketched on her iPad.
Last year a blog post went viral and just the title made me sigh in relief. The post is called “Dear Mom On The iPhone: You’re Doing Fine.” It spoke to me about how as moms we should try harder to withhold our judgement and release ourselves from the ridiculously high standards we set for ourselves as well as other moms. This post was also a reminder that instead of judging other moms, we should think about what their story may be and acknowledge that we are all doing a pretty great job by our kids.
One of my favorite lines is “You’ve been watching your kids — playing with them, helping them, singing and dancing with them all morning. All day. And now, at the park, when they can run around and play, you’re taking a few minutes for yourself on your phone.”
Even though I do love and appreciate every part of this article, I would like to offer a few counterpoints. As the mom of triplets who are now 6 years-old, as well as a ten-year-old child, I have spent countless days over the past decade at the park with my children. I have been witness to a lot of park experiences, some good and some ugly.
Moms, enjoy your iPhone at the park. I know I enjoy mine. But don’t completely zone out. Here are three reasons why.
1. The Park Pisser
Toddlers don’t always have the best judgement or potty etiquette yet, so when you are not looking and they feel the urge to purge their bladder, you may bear witness to the park pisser. This is the kid that, while his mom is busy socializing or checking her phone for Facebook updates, decides to pull his pants down and relieve himself in the sandbox like a cat.
A few years ago my friend was at our favorite park with her kids when she spotted a 5 year-old boy peeing on a large tic tac toe toy in the middle of the park. My friend went right up to the child and told him to stop peeing on the toy. He looked at her and kept right on peeing. Then my friend went up to the mom who was sitting on a park bench deep into mom socialization, and shared the unfortunate information about her son. The mom of the park pee-er was very defensive and said “well you and your kids must just be perfect!” at which point my friend kindly asked her to go clean up her son’s pee.
Please moms, enjoy your iPhone or quiet time but make sure you look up every once in a while to make sure your kid isn’t peeing in the park or on a pal!
2. The Park Bully
More times than I can even count, I have had to break up park fights. Whether these park fights or bully behavior have anything to do with my kids or not, I still feel obligated as a mom to intervene and referee. Where is the mom, I always ask myself? Why am I parenting someone else’s child when I have my own four to watch?
Toddlers are crazy irrational little human beings, and you just never know when they are going to snap in an intense debate over who gets the swing next or whose turn it is to go down the slide.
And don’t think your kid would never behave that way because in their short few years of life, you have impeccably trained them with manners, social graces and a keen sense of right vs. wrong. The kindest hearted child of mine once decked a fellow toddler in the face as she exited the slide at an indoor mall play area. It happens to the best of kids with the best of parents.
3. The Distracted Mom
Each and every one of us moms have been the distracted mom at the park. We are in the safe confines of a park setting where our children can run free and play like the wild free spirits they want to be. So it really disturbs me to find the mom at the park who has their child locked and loaded in the swing for an hour while she 100% zones out on her iPhone. The kid in the swing always looks completely bored and comatose while the mom looks like a phone zombie practically drooling, unable to look away from her device for a single second to check in with her kid.
The distracted mom could also be the mom who doesn’t see her child hovering dangerously close to the edge of a tall play structure.
I am all about letting a mom catch a break on a park bench for an hour or two while her kids play. I have been that mom so many times and I always found it a refreshing break. Let’s also be mindful that the people we brought with us to the park are still just children who need to be monitored. Catch up on your email replies and Facebook posts. Enjoy that cup of coffee while chatting with your friend. Browse a magazine. Just remember to look up once in a while and make sure your kid isn’t peeing on the park or hitting a friend. Make sure even though you are on your phone texting, you are still conscious that you are at the park with your kids and not lost in the webosphere.
Thank you to Real Life Parenting blogger mom for sharing this story that really needed to be shared. Thank you for giving us moms permission to entertain ourselves with our iPhones instead of dying of boredom watching our kids at the park. Thank you for reminding us not be so hard on the moms.
Just remember to look up once in a while.
*My daughter is responsible for all illustrations on this post since she did such a good job on her shitty-mom iBook.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.